What’s next – mixed-gender beaches?

June 1, 2011

First, they legalized bikinis. And now they want to relax Ontario’s liquor laws?

What’s next? Mixed-gender swimming beaches? Gambling houses that take wagers on horses? Physical contact at high school dances? Dresses above the knees? If this keeps up, I guess I should pack my bags and move to Greenland.

I’ll be the first to say you don’t need more than a sunny disposition and a bag of potato chips to have a good time. So the news that Ontario’s Attorney General Chris Bentley plans to introduce changes to Ontario’s liquor rules in time for summer have left me wondering what’s going on at Queen’s Park.

Bentley – probably fresh from doing a keg stand – says we ought to lighten up the rules around drinks served in beer tents at festival and other events. He’s proposed a set of changes to our liquor laws that would let festival goers wander around and do shopping with a drink in their hand. My guess is sales of those helmets with the holders for two beers cans on the side would go through the roof.

Boosy Bentley’s proposal also includes extending liquor serving hours for weddings and charity events to 2 a.m. and opening up the province to all-inclusive vacation packages. Imagine that – serving liquor later at a wedding? Oh my heavens. If we can’t even leave a wedding sober anymore, what else have we got?

It gets worse. Bentley and his band of alcohol-swilling booze-pushers also say maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if customers and servers could carry drinks from bars to outdoor patios that are separated by a sidewalk. With that kind of freedom, what’s to stop the drink carrier from tearing their shirt off and running down the street like a lunatic?

And the opposition? They’re even worse. Tory leader Tim Hudak back in February lamented the loss of Ontario’s buck-a-beer sales, saying rising minimum prices were killing his buzz.

“There are many folks, and myself included, who look forward to the $24 two-four on the May 24 weekend, that is now something in the past,” he said.

Leaders pushing for cheap beer? This is all madness.

There are people out there, fresh from travels to other provinces, who claim it isn’t this way everywhere. They say in places like Quebec or Alberta alcohol is free-flowing and cheaply available. They say you can buy liquor at corner stores and on grocery shelves – at a fraction of the price we pay here.

I say those people probably also believe in unicorns.

Because if there’s anything that Ontarians stand for, it’s heavily-taxed alcohol sold exclusively by a monopoly of the big brewers and our own provincial government. It’s practically what this province was founded on.

It seems Bentley’s proposal to relax our liquor laws have gotten more than a few people all riled up. Some want the government to go even further and take a second look at restrictions for boat cruises.

Right now, tour operators are allowed to serve booze about half-an-hour before a boat leaves the pier, but if bad weather delays its departure, all the drinks have to be taken away. If they’re delayed, the drinks are taken away, and then returned once the tour gets underway.

Makes sense to me.

I think I speak for most people when I say that without strong rules around how to carry, sip, display and buy our liquor, we would all turn into cavemen and cavewomen. Nobody wants that. Like most Ontarians, I like my fun heavily regulated.

And pre-approved by the government.

Greg Mercer is a Guelph-based writer. His column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached at greg_mercer@hotmail.com, and past columns can be read at gregmercer.ca

Guelph Mercury, June 1, 2011

One Response to What’s next – mixed-gender beaches?

  1. David on June 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    David T.Starr on June 3, 2011 at 5:49 am (Edit)

    I enjoyed reading your tongue-in-cheek article on AGO regulations. I know that I’d be happier if the government, at all 3 levels, spent less time protecting from myself.


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